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MLS: Chicago Fire at Sporting Kansas City

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Sporting KC v Chicago Fire: Preview, Predictions and How to Watch

Sporting Kansas City are off to one of their worst starts in the Peter Vermes era. On the road, they’ll need to turn it around.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting KC @ Chicago Fire FC

When: Saturday, March 19th, 2022 at 5:00 PM CT (Kickoff 5:08)

Where: Soldier Field

How to Watch/Stream: 38 the Spot | ESPN+ (out of market) | SportingKC.com & SKC App (in market) | Sporting One App on Roku, Apple TV and Fire TV
How to Listen: ESPN 94.5 FM | La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish)

Wow... it’s been a weird start to the 2022 Major League Soccer season. At least for Sporting Kansas City fans, which are used to hot starts and consistently dominant performances. Instead, they’ve lost both road games and eeked out a home win against the Houston Dynamo.

Turning things around may be tough as Sporting KC are still potentially without many of their offensive players (see the injury report below).

Making things tougher is that they are facing the Chicago Fire, who haven’t conceded a single goal in three weeks of MLS play. For a team in Kansas City that is struggling to score, that’s a bit of bad news. The only plus is that the Fire have only scored against the abysmal D.C. United, but that doesn’t instill much confidence with as leaky as Sporting’s defense has been to start the year.

The only positive entering this week is Tim Melia is 6-1-1 all-time against the Fire and the team may need to start grinding out some ugly wins or draws as they are down many talented attacking players.

Chicago’s Recent Form

  • February 26th @ Inter Miami — 0-0 Draw
  • March 5th vs. Orlando City — 0-0 Draw
  • March 12th @ D.C. United — 2-0 Win

Chicago have yet to lose or allow a goal. Sporting have done more losing than winning and have only scored twice in three games.

What’s New for Chicago in 2022?

The “in’s” surely are beating the “out’s.”

IN: The biggest news of the Chicago Fire’s offseason was the signing of Xherdan Shaqiri from Lyon. He’s a bit of a legend and likely to make an impact and lift up those around him. Another big addition is forward Kacper Przybylko from the Philadelphia Union, who arrived via trade to replace the departed Robert Beric.

The team also added Jairo Torres from Atlas in Liga MX. He’s a highly rated young attacker who will fill a young DP roster spot. And while Przybylko is likely to be the starting CF for now, technically Jhon Duran just arrived, despite being signed a year ago. He just turned 18, so he was forced to wait to come to Chicago, but the Columbian is a young prospect at CF as well.

Chicago also tightened up their defense with the signing of Rafael Czichos, a CB from from FC Koln in Germany.

OUT: We all know Robert Beric left, as SKC drafted him and failed to sign him. The team allowed CB Francisco Calvo to walk and he signed with the San Jose Earthquakes. Perhaps their biggest subtraction is midfielder Alvaro Medran, who moved to Saudi Arabia.

Injuries/Availability*

Sporting KC

OUT - Alan Pulido (knee surgery), Gadi Kinda (knee surgery)

QUESTIONABLE - Khiry Shelton (calf), Daniel Salloi (calf), Johnny Russell (hamstring), Uri Rosell (hamstring)

*This has been updated based on the official injury report.

Chicago

OUT - Carlos Teran (right thigh), Andre Reynolds II (left thigh)

QUESTIONABLE - Gabriel Slonina (day-to-day, ankle)

Follow fellow SB Nation writer, Patrick McCraney, for updates on the Fire.

Starting XI Predictions

This will get it’s own story. Look for it closer to game day.

Score Predictions

With the injury report being what it is and the current form of the team, it’s hard to predict much good is going to happen. Sporting KC have scored just once and allowed five goals on the road. It’s unlikely many are arguing the Fire are better than the Colorado Rapids and Atlanta United, but SKC are struggling.

When they get everyone back, or even get more time for some of the new signings, I still believe in this team. But until then, we are asking them to be perfect defensively to have a chance. That feels like something that’s unlikely to happen.

Here is to hoping I’m wrong, but if the injuries are what they appear to be, who is going to score the goals?

1-0 Chicago Win

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